T is for Time Travel is a curious collection of short stories by Stanlei Bellan that spans the fullness of space and time.
Included are a colourful array of stories that range from the abstract to the profound. And for a book that stands at circa 120 pages, Bellan is able to extract a bevy of interesting time travel-related hijinks and present them in a concise manner.
It’s thought-provoking without being complex – its simplicity belies the genius contained within.
T is for Time Travel
I’m sometimes quite suspicious of time travel in fiction. Too often it creates unnecessary complexity, and in the worst cases, problematic plot holes.
So what’s fantastic about T for Time Travel is that it leans into, and even acknowledges some of these shortcomings in the genre with a dash of irony, whilst still providing some genuinely fascinating tales.
It’s evident that T is for Time Travel was, no doubt, a lot of fun for the author to write. And that comes across to the reader. It’s playful, self-referential, and emotionally satisfying. whilst still not taking itself too seriously – and that makes for a great read.
Bellan experiments with changes in tense, metacommentary throughout, and direct address to the reader – mostly with great success, making T is for Time Travel intellectually stimulating, whilst also spinning a good yarn or two.
The Tales of T is for Time Travel
Most of T is for Time Travel’s ten short stories are highly entertaining.
The first, Another Time, was a little abstract. However, later entries are progressively more interesting and build a wider metanarrative not unlike Cloud Atlas, albeit on a far smaller scale.
Particular highlights include Time Cleaners, which was uncannily reminiscent of the Disney+ Loki series, Wishful Timing, and Tempus Pompeius.
Another Time ⭐⭐
Time to Light ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Time Cleaners ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wild Times ⭐⭐⭐
Time for Everything ⭐⭐
Better Luck Next Time ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Only Time Will Tell ⭐⭐⭐
Wishful Timing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tempus Pompeius ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Behind the Timestream ⭐⭐⭐⭐
T is for Time Travel is well worth your time (pun intended).
It’s smart, well written, and raises some genuinely fascinating time-related conundrums.
The inclusion of a crossword at the end, with clues littered throughout the text, was a particularly impressive (though unexpected) addition.
Some may find this a little gimmicky; I think it’s a fun experimentation with structural form that encourages re-reading the book. It helps that the stories are, for the most part, well written and exciting to read.
If you’re remotely interested in time travel-related speculative fiction, then definitely give it a go.
In any case, it’s only just over 120 pages – what have you got to lose?
Full disclaimer: A review copy was kindly provided by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review.